DOI: 10.3390/healthcare11172451 ISSN:

“Feeling Trapped in Prison” Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perceptions and Practices among Healthcare Workers and Prison Staff from a Brazilian Maximum Security Unit

Wanessa Cristina Baccon, Maria Aparecida Salci, Lígia Carreira, Adriana Martins Gallo, Francielle Renata Danielli Martins Marques, Carlos Laranjeira
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management

The COVID-19 pandemic had several repercussions on prison staff, but the currently available evidence has mainly ignored these effects. This qualitative study aimed to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the prison system through the narratives of health and security professionals, using the methodological framework of the constructivist grounded theory proposed by Charmaz. The sample included 10 healthcare workers and 10 security professionals. Data collection took place between October and November 2022 through individual in-depth interviews. The data were analyzed using the MaxQDA software. Three categories of interrelated data emerged: (1) “Confrontation and disruption” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the prison system; (2) “Between disinfodemic and solicitude” referring to the tension between information management and the practice of care centered on the needs of inmates; and, finally, (3) “Reorganization and mitigation strategies during the fight against COVID-19”. Continuous education and the development of specific skills are essential to enable professionals to face the challenges and complex demands that arise in prison contexts. The daily routines professionals had previously taken for granted were disrupted by COVID-19. Thus, investing in adequate training and emotional support programs is crucial to promote the resilience and well-being of these professionals, ensuring an efficient and quality response to critical events.

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